Testimonials on Mushroom Towers

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Author (in-game): Minerva Calo

By Minerva Calo, Associate Chronicler

The Telvanni, the most mysterious of the Great House in all respects, features one of the most looming curiosities – both literally and figuratively – the mushroom structures which they live and work within. The House has never given an official statement about their choice of architecture, and most are too frightened by Telvanni’s vast power to ask. It’s common knowledge that the Telvanni Magisters value their privacy, but why not build a tower of stone or wood? I decided to ask the common folk their theories. Names have been changed to protect the speakers from Telvanni attention.

I first talked to local merchants who weren’t officially affiliated with the House, but often sell wares to its members. A rather exasperated Dark Elf named Verna was happy to explain her theory:

“It’s the smell, that’s what it is! They’re obsessed with this Three-forsaken stench. Can’t get enough of it. I think there’s something about their biology, something different from other Dark Elves. Makes them just crave the smell of mushrooms, so much so that they magicked them into towers. I’ve heard they sit up there all day and just inhale the fumes. Me? I just get headaches. What’s wrong with the fresh scent of pine, or stone, or any other honest building material? Sometimes I think I’d rather see the towers made of silt strider dung than of moldy old mushrooms!”

An Argonian inn-keeper, Makes-Some-Waves, believed that the purpose was more functional:

“Well, we all know that the Telvanni are isolationists. They can’t even be bothered to attend the inter-council meetings. My guess is that they eat the mushrooms, to save on trips to the market. Only makes sense, doesn’t it? Mushroom stew, mushroom pie, mushroom gravy! There’s a lot you can make with bits of mushroom. We just don’t notice because their slaves gather the stuff discreetly. Wouldn’t want to ruin their image by being mushroom fanatics, would they? Well, more fanatical I suppose than simply having your entire house built out of the stuff.”

A rather friendly Dark Elf merchant by the name of Hader had a vastly different opinion of what the mushrooms were used for:

“I’ve heard that mushrooms are a powerful aphrodisiac. Really makes you wonder what those Magisters do all day up in those towers. I’ve thought about taking up my own collection, for purely studious purposes, of course. But I’d rather not attract the attention of the homeowners. Telvanni mages aren’t very giving Dark Elves, even when well pleased. And I suspect they might be pleased more often than they let on, if you catch my drift. By the way, you did say that you were changing my name for this, didn’t you?”

The merchants who cater to Telvanni were interesting sources of material and raised many questions for me to consider, but I found myself drawn to those who worked directly for the House. Though most slaves were unwilling to speak to me, I found an Orc hireling who had this to say:

“Well, who else is using [the mushrooms]? If they’re there, they’re there. Might as well make some use of them. Only useful decision the Telvanni ever made, truth be told.”

Maybe the truth was that simple. The Telvanni found this native flora and simply wished to make use of it. A matter of convenience seems to be the most plausible theory I had heard, but was it the truth? I had but one more source I could find who would speak their mind, a Khajiit trader by the name of Rumoc, who explained:

“This one always thought the towers were built to intimidate outlanders. Rumoc was most unsettled when he set up business in [retracted]. Having such a strange tower looming above you. Perhaps it represents the Telvanni themselves, yes? Imposing, mysterious, almost haunting. The Telvanni do not wish to welcome ones such as us to their lands. It is in their best interest to keep us frightened.”

I could get no official comment from a member of House Telvanni, other than a few strongly worded requests that I cease my inquiries. But my curiosity cannot be contained by mere threats, and the mystery of the Telvanni is something I will always find myself attempting to unravel. I take heart in the fact that even under the House’s oppressive eye, so many shared with me their thoughts and theories, each more interesting and thought-provoking than the last.

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